Good News/Bad News Bills

The bass are off the chopping block, for now

The good news is that the REVISED Assembly Bill 2336 was passed, not the original. Assemblymember Fuller originally introduced AB 2336 April 11 to terminate the management and protection of the public’s striped bass fishery that inhabits the Bay-Delta estuary. The bill named bass as the cause of the decline of “native” fish species which sent the Delta fisherman into action. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance lead the charge and an estimate one hundred anglers attend the April 13th hearing in the state capitol. The bill was afterwards amended to simply send the issues of estuary’s fishery declines to be reviewed by Delta Stewardship’s Council “Independent Science Board”. It was interesting that the “Rationale” given for this Bill specifically excludes impacts of the pumps from the analysis – the Bill’s stated Rationale: “to reduce or eliminate the impact of significant stressors on California’s native fish populations other than the pumps that export water out of the Delta, including nonnative fish species and the amended bill passed this week.

They won’t admit that the problem is the pumps

The bad news about AB 2337, is that now the Delta Independent Science Board will be reviewing the “impact of invasive species and non-native species, water quality impairments, and predation on native species” as the primary stressors. The BDCP and others continue to try to find reasons for the Delta’s decline other than the State Pumps and resulting flow reductions. The State Water Resources Control Board held a public informational proceeding on Monday, March 22, to develop flow criteria for the Delta ecosystem necessary to protect public trust resources but reports were that more time was spent looking for other stressors instead of evaluating what flow criteria is required for maintaining a healthy Delta ecosystem.

And users of the water won’t be paying

Another worrisome bill also passed out of the committee was Huffman’s AB 2092 regarding fees for planning and administration for the Delta Stewardship Council. The bill originally required the SWP and CVP contractors to pay for “planning and administrative costs.” As reported, “This sounded reasonable to the Audubon Society, NRDC, and the Nature Conservancy, but a lot of water districts and growers’ groups balked. So the bill has been amended to say ‘specified costs.’ Whatever that means. Also amended out of the bill was the part that would have made beneficiaries responsible for paying for the costs of implementing the Plan.”

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